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Joan Read died as she had lived: on her own terms, in her own time. Surrounded by loving family and in the company of her beloved dogs, she left us on the day of ANTA's Spring Fling; on the day after the Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac's 20th anniversary show. She left us too soon.
This unique lady's many triumphs were tempered by the tragedy she had endured, including the premature deaths of her daughter Sheila and her husband , Curtis. She had battled polio and its after effects for years. But, where others would have faltered, she marched on with wit and tenacity and class. In the end, even in death, it was her spirit that prevailed.
Although most ANTA members knew Joan through her Norfolk and Norwich Terriers, her first love was the Labrador Retriever. A long-time breeder of Labradors, she was present at both the first Labrador Retriever field trial held in this country in 1931, and the first Labrador specialty show in 1933. Over the years, she had bred many Labrador champions and at the time of her death one of her favorite house dogs was Jenny, a black lab bred by her daughter Barbara Ege.
Joan was also an avid horsewoman. Though polio ended her riding career, for many years she was the guiding hand behind the Meadow Brook Hounds Pony Club and it was with considerable pride that she saw one of her pony club graduates, Tad Coffin, win the 1976 Olympic gold medal in three-day eventing.
When the AKC granted the Norfolk terrier recognition as a separate breed in 1979, and the Norwich and Norfolk Terrier Club voted not to give the breed its own parent club, Joan rallied an intrepid crew of Norfolk owners to create ANTA. Designed as an educational organization with the primary purpose of encouraging the sporting spirit of this feisty little terrier, ANTA welcomed all who loved the breed regardless of whether their dogs were titled champions or "just" beloved house pets. Through Joan's guiding hand, ANTA has grown to a place in the world of purebred dogs that is the envy of many breed clubs.
Decidedly and avowedly independent of all other canine organizations, ANTA was Joan's lasting gift to its membership.
Her most influential Norfolk champion was Ch. Elve Pure Magic ("TG" for "tough guy") who had a lasting influence on many kennels, including Abbedales, Anderscroft, Glenelg, Greenfields, Surrey, Todwill, Wenwagon, Whitehall, and Yarrow. "TG" was followed in Oyster Bay by Eng/Am Ch. Daffran Dusty whom Joan imported after he caught her fancy when she judged him in England.
Her most famous Norwich is Ch. Royal Rock Don of Chidley, at 14 the sire of nearly 100 breed champions. Joan orchestrated the breeding that produced Don's son, 1994 Westminster Best in Show winner, Ch. Chidley Willum the Conqueror. Both Don and Willum resided with Joan and she loved them in their retirement even more than she did when they were carrying the Chidley banner around the show ring.
Whether she was in the ring evaluating sporting dogs, Norwich or Norfolk Terriers; writing the breed history or producing one of her invaluable pedigree books; or talking on the phone with one of the countless people who sought her advice and council, Joan was indefatigable. She especially liked helping newcomers and she delighted in arranging the adoption of just the right puppy by just the right owner. She was generous beyond measure and on more than one occasion saw to it that a special dog ended up with a special person sans financial consideration.
ANTA extends its sympathy to Joan's family, especially her son, Curtis, and her daughter Barbara Read Ege. Bee is an integral part of ANTA's history and will carry on the Chidley prefix. A memorial service was held in Cold Spring Harbor on May 3rd, 1995. Memorial contributions may be made in Joan's name to:
or to the dog-related charity of the donor's choice. ANTA's lasting tribute to Joan will consist of a yearly seminar or program designed to further the educational purpose of our club. Proceeds of this annual event will be donated in her memory to one of her favorite charities.
ANTIC, Spring & Summer 1995
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